Thursday, December 24, 2009

Now what!?! Getting our bird into the air...

So... we have an airplane... CHECK! We have an open runway at the hospital... CHECK! So, now what? We must pass a government "Ramp Check" and then pay for 6 months worth of flight permits. AND??? The phone call came this morning- the inspectors could look at the airplane and were wondering if we were ready. Were we ready!?! Uh... YEAH!

From 10am to 11am, we reviewed the documents, logbooks, interior, exterior, and more. There were a few things that we were asked to take care of (see below), but when all was said and done, it passed a the "Ramp Check"! The paperwork was processed and, one hour later, I returned to their offices and found that all is in order- we just need the signature of the director, pay our fees, and we'll be good to go for 6 months of operations in Gabon! Every 6 months, we'll have to pay for another round of flight permits.

We're hoping to get some flying done next week- down to the hospital and back a couple of times.

Brian (the ferry pilot) and I worked to get the auxilary tanks out yesterday. Today, we got the seats in and then, after the inspection, we hustled to satisfy their requests, as follows:

> Life jackets: This was a surprise. First time I had heard they wanted this. Since we aren't doing extended flights over open water, we didn't plan on that. Thankfully, Egmont had extra, airline quallity, life vests at his house that we're borrowing for the time being. Cool how that worked out, huh?

> Flashlight: I keep one in my flight bag, but they prefer that one is kept in the airplane.

> Fire extinguisher info: There is a fire extinguisher, however, the inpsection tag had not been filled out. So, I took it home, weighed it, and started the log on the tag. That satisfied them.

> Radio License: This is another thing that caught me off guard. In the US, the FCC doesn't require this license as of 1996 or so, UNLESS... you are flying an aircraft internationally! So... we logged on to the FCC website, registered, and filled out the application. We printed off the application and the civil aviation office was pleased to see us doing our "due diligence".

So, civil aviation has given us the "green light" and, after the signature on Monday morning, we'll have permission to fly over Gabon for the next 6 months- in and out of whatever aerodromes we'd like.

So, with the seats inside, the airplane is really taking on a great look! The people at Afrijet have been allowing us to keep it in one of their hangars that stays relatively empty most of the time. This is saving us from being out in the blazing heat. We're very thankful for that.

So, that's the update for now.

Oh... you may have seen in the photos that the cargo pod is all messy. This is due to the mess caused by the overboard oil breather tube outlet and the exhaust. We'll be cleaning the belly often, but it was something that Brian didn't have time to do during the ferry

We have plenty of fuel, for the time being, but we'll be hammering out the details of fuel with the agricultural company that said we could order fuel with them.

1 comment:

  1. Would the oil on the belly be from overfilling the sump during the ferry flight. -- Josh Flint